A long, long time ago I used to be a host at a local pizza joint in suburban Minneapolis. I would smile, seat people, and then once per night call in a delivery order from the back-office phone, then call back 10 minutes later and cancel it - thus giving the staff a free pizza to munch on.
I had it all figured out - and was good enough at my job that I actually got a raise of about 50 cents an hour. Back then, that was a big deal. Heck, video games were still only a quarter, which would get me a good 20 minutes on Mat Mania - and I was unbeatable back then.
But while I thought that was a pretty good raise, I about fell off my recliner when I saw the raise Eddie Johnson (deservedly) got from MLS.
Our man Steven Goff in The Washington Post Thursday got hold of some salary numbers, and it seems the Hoops star saw his annual paycheck jump from $86,250 to $875,000. We all joke about wanting to add another zero to our paycheck ... he actually did it. Nice.
According to Goff, Landon topped the list at $900,000, with Freddy Adu coming in at a cool $550,000. Of course, none of these numbers include endorsements, which young Freddy does quite well with.
While these numbers are not officially released by the league, it actually reflects quite well on MLS that they have opened up the coffers to keep these guys at home. After seeing those figures, you really can't say they aren't doing their best to keep the best young American talent playing in the league.
THE NEWS: I know MLS gives out a Player of the Month, but I'm giving out a writer of the month to the Post's Goff.
TCS SAYS: If you haven't, check out the quotes he got from D.C. United's Kevin Payne and Metro's Alexi Lalas over Freddy Adu. Brilliant stuff.
THE NEWS: All right sports fans, I've always said this column is not about breaking news, but sometimes I hear a nugget that is worth sharing.
TCS SAYS: Apparently, MLS is in negotiations to bring Daniel Hernandez back from Necaxa. I hear Mile High Club is a possible destination.
THE NEWS: Speaking of the Rapids, it can't be settling to hear Joe Cannon even mention the thought of heading back to San Jose.
TCS SAYS: But that's what he did this week in the San Jose papers, saying that he would consider returning to the club, even as the team's future is undecided. "If you told me there was a 50-50 chance of the team leaving, I'd probably still come," he told Dylan Hernandez in the San Jose Mercury News. "I'd work in the ticket office, too. I'm old enough."
But relax, Mile High faithful, he also had very good things to say about your boys: "There's no way I could turn my back on a franchise that gave me a second chance."
THE NEWS: Whether you think Steve Sampson is delivering or not, I liked him taking the TCS position on playing MLS games during qualifiers.
TCS SAYS: Sampson, to Grahame Jones of the Los Angeles Times: "I believe the league and the sport is on enough solid footing that you could take a week- or two-week break and not have it impact the league. That's my personal belief. Now, I'm sure the league office might disagree with that."
Wait a second, Steve, this isn't just an excuse, right?
"It diminishes the product on the field for people who are paying good money to come watch," Sampson said. "And - let's be honest and blunt about this - coaches are being evaluated by results, and fans, the management, the press, I don't think they really care how they [coaches] get the results just as long as they get the results. You take the top four or five players off our team and it's a different team."
Oh, now I get it.
GRAB A COLD BUD (OR AQUAFINA) AND PUT YER FEET UP:
WHAT I'LL BE WATCHING: Thursday - USA vs. CUBA (10:30 p.m. ET on Telefutura): If the U.S. doesn't put up a touchdown, it'll only be because they got bored.
Saturday - WIZARDS at UNITED (6 p.m. ET on The Deuce): We all like to talk about how the Wizards play that defensive Gansler-ball, but can you believe they have scored five more goals this season than the Galaxy?
Saturday - QUAKES at CREW (7:30 p.m. ET on Direct Kick): If the Crew keep losing, you really do have to wonder ...
Apparently some of the national team guys have been trying out some new contact lenses that work like sunglasses. 'Keeper Marcus Hahnemann, on the new style: "The amber color definitely makes you look weird. I think some guys are just going to wear them to parties."
Speaking of Marcus, love the name of his website, www.baldyank.com
Finally, this from the Sun in the UK, via the Daily Southtown in Chicago: Apparently Snoop Dogg invited Becks out for the night after the Live 8 show on Saturday, to which Mrs. Beckham replied, "Look, Mr. Snoopy, you're not taking my husband out. I know all about your reputation."
The Clean Sheet runs each Thursday on MLSnet. Views and opinions expressed in this column views and opinions are the author's, and not necessarily those of Major League Soccer or MLSnet.com. Send any questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org